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What to do if you put the wrong fuel in your car

Recent reports suggest more people are misfuelling their vehicles as the stress of the fuel crisis continues.

According to car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, under normal circumstances, 400 motorists accidentally put the wrong fuel in their vehicles every day.

But that number could rise to record levels as the fuel shortage continues.

Here’s what to do if you put the wrong fuel in your car, according to LeaseLoco:

Don’t turn the engine on

Leave your engine switched off and don’t put the key in the ignition. The most serious damage from misfuelling occurs after starting the engine because this allows fuel to circulate around it.

Drain the fuel tank

The fuel tank needs to be drained to remove the contaminated fuel before you drive the car. But before you can do this…

Put the vehicle in neutral

…Put the car in neutral, let the staff at the petrol station know what’s happened, and push the vehicle to a safe place on the forecourt.

Already driven off?

If you have already left the petrol station, find a safe place to pull over as soon as possible, put the car in neutral and turn off the ignition.

Fuel drain services

Most breakdown cover policies won’t cover the costs of draining and flushing your vehicle after misfueling, but the big breakdown providers do offer the service separately whether you’re a member or not. There are also plenty of specialist companies offering misfuelling services.


Check your insurance policy to see if misfuelling is covered. You may be able to claim back the cost of repairing your car under an accidental damage clause in your policy. This generally only applies to comprehensive policies though.

Avoid misfuelling in future

To avoid misfuelling, check the fuel grade indicator on the pump and the label on the pump trigger. Never rely on the colour of the hose or nozzle.

You could also label your fuel cap with a prominent sign indicating the fuel type. It’s also possible to buy a diesel filler cap that prevents petrol nozzles from fitting into diesel tank necks.

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